In Portage, Wisconsin "probate" refers to the process a court uses to decide whether or not a will is valid, thereby deciding if it should be given effect.
In the probate process, a Portage, Wisconsin probate court has various duties, including ruling on a will's validity, making an inventory of the estate's assets, and making note of all the decedent's debts. Once the will is determined to be valid, the court will distribute the property according to its terms.
Typically, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Portage, Wisconsin will appoint an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is typically the closest adult relative of the decedent, or the person who stands to inherit the most.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and essentially serves as a living embodiment of the decedent's estate. It is their job to defend the estate from debtors (if a legitimate defense for the debt exists, of course), and wind up any legal proceedings that the decedent might have been engaged in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court typically chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most incentive to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Portage, Wisconsin
The executor has many duties concerning the will. First, they have to truly initiate the probate proceedings, which must be completed before the will is effectuated.
The executor also has to give those with a direct interest in the will notice that the decedent has died, by filing an official death certificate.
There may be many people who are entitled to take under a testator's will, with which the testator may have fallout out of touch years ago. This can make them challenging to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is obliged to make a list of everyone who might be able to inherit, whether they're named in the will, or closely related to the testator. Additionally, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Moreover, the executor is required to take the lead in establishing the validity of the will, effectively acting as the living embodiment of the decedent's estate. The executor is typically the person who will inherit the most once the will goes through probate, so they have a good reason to put in the work to do this.
How Can A Portage, Wisconsin Lawyer Help?
Because of the difficulties involved in probate, it would be a knowledgeable idea to consult with and retain a Portage, Wisconsin attorney who specializes in probate, especially if you are the executor of an estate.